NEW DELHI: Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute is more important than the issue of polygamy among Muslims, the Supreme Court was told on Friday afternoon as the hearing on the Ayodhya dispute resumed.
Responding to a plea to refer the case to a larger Constitutional bench, the Supreme Court's three-judge bench - headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra - said it will decide whether to send Ayodhya land dispute case to a five-judge bench. However, the decision will be taken after hearing from all stakeholders.
"The Ayodhya land dispute is far more important than polygamy among Muslims and the whole nation wants an answer," senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing on behalf of Muslim party, told the bench, as reported by news agency PTI.
The plea was made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who was appearing for a Muslim party, before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which said it will take a decision on referring the case to a larger bench after hearing all parties to the litigation.
Arguing that the Ayodhya issue should be referred to a larger constitutional bench, Dhawan reportedly said that hearing any other issues before the current bench is a complete waste of time.
Later, a heated exchange ensued amongst lawyers of both parties about which issue should be argued first.
The next hearing in the case will be on April 27
The special bench of the top court is seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the high court judgement delivered in four civil suits.
Earlier, the top court had dashed the hopes of activists like Shyam Benegal and Teesta Setalvad to intervene in the sensitive Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case, making it clear that only the parties to the original lawsuits would be allowed to put forth their arguments.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land is partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
With agency inputs